Puerto Rico governor says he will resign Aug. 2

Gov. Ricardo Rossello

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) _ Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello says he is resigning effective Aug. 2 in the face of public furor over an obscenity-laced online chat that showed the governor and close advisers insulting women and mocking constituents including the victims of Hurricane Maria.

The 40-year-old Rossello is the first governor to resign in the modern history of Puerto Rico, a territory of 3.2 million U.S. citizens that is mired in a 13-year recession and still recovering from the Category 4 hurricane two years ago.

Public outrage over the leaked chats and federal corruption charges against former government officials sparked massive demonstrations across San Juan in the largest protest movement on the island since Puerto Ricans successfully marched to demand an end to U.S. Navy military training on the island of Vieques more than 15 years ago.

Justice Secretary Wanda Vazquez will become the new governor.

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6:50 p.m.

The spokesman for Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello says the politician is preparing a message to the people of Puerto Rico and will address them directly Wednesday night.

Public Affairs Secretary Anthony Maceira offered no further details Wednesday evening to dozens of reporters gathered outside the governor’s residence for word of his political future.

Maceira said only that “Gov. Ricardo Rossello will be addressing the people of Puerto Rico directly, in a message that he’s working on right now.”

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2:30 p.m.

More than 100 protesters gathered around the Puerto Rico governor’s mansion in a renewed push to oust Gov. Ricardo Rossello, but his spokesman says he has not resigned.

Local media had reported that Rossello was on the verge of leaving Puerto Rico. But Public Affairs Secretary Anthony Maceira said Wednesday the governor “has not resigned and remains in Puerto Rico.”

Maceira said that some media had published “incorrect rumors” and that “whatever decision is taken will be officially communicated, as always.”

The U.S. territory has been swept by protests after release of an obscenity-laced online chats between Rossello and his advisers.

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